Steel consumption in ASEAN continued to expand in 2014, but at a slower pace compared to the year before. According to data from the newly released 2015 SEAISI Steel Statistical Yearbook, total apparent steel consumption in the six ASEAN member countries of SEAISI i.e. Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam reached 65.9 million tonnes in 2014. The growth rate was 4.4%, down from 7.7% in 2013.
Although Thailand maintained its position as the biggest steel consuming country in ASEAN, its steel consumption decreased from 17.6 million tonnes in 2013 to 17.3 million tonnes in 2014, a drop of 1.6% year-on-year. This was due to the political uncertainty in the country which saw Thailand recording an anaemic GDP growth rate of 0.7% in 2014, the lowest in ASEAN.
Driven by stronger domestic demand, Vietnam’s steel consumption soared 22.7% year-on-year to reach 14.4 million tonnes in 2014, enabling it to overtake Indonesia as the second largest steel consuming country in ASEAN. Since suffering a sharp decline in 2011 following the tightening of fiscal and monetary measures by the government, Vietnam’s steel demand has been recovering steadily and the performance in 2014 was the best achieved so far.
Indonesia’s steel consumption picked up marginally by 1.6% year-on-year to 12.9 million tonnes in 2014. The prolonged campaign for the country’s presidential election in the year weighed down investment sentiment and affected implementation of infrastructure projects, leading to a slowdown in steel demand growth.
Malaysia’s steel demand stagnated in 2014, registering a lowly 0.3% increase compared to 2013. Total steel consumption for the year was 10.1 million tonnes.
Philippines, on the other hand, continued to witness healthy growth in steel demand. The country’s steel consumption jumped from 6.7 million tonnes in 2013 to 7.3 million tonnes in 2014, an increase of 9.2% year-on-year.
Singapore continued to exhibit its yo-yo pattern swing in steel demand. Total steel consumption in 2014 shrunk 10.4% year-on-year to 3.8 million tonnes. In 2013, its steel consumption rebounded from a marginal decline the year before and registered a strong growth rate of 11.8% year-on-year.
The region saw an increase in crude steel production, from 18.1 million tonnes in 2013 to 20.4 million tonnes in 2014, up 12.4% year-on-year. Similarly, production of hot-rolled steel products also surged 7.9% year-on-year, from 25.5 million tonnes in 2013 to 27.5 million tonnes in 2014. The commissioning of the 3 million tonne capacity PT Krakatau Posco slab and plate plant in Indonesia contributed significantly to the increases in production.
Imports continued to flood the ASEAN steel market. In 2014, a total of 46.4 million tonnes of finished steels were imported into the region, up 3.4% year-on-year. Not surprisingly, China was the largest source, accounting for 40.2% of the total imports.
The biggest import items in 2014 were hot-rolled plates, sheets and strips which totalled 18.4 million tonnes, an increase of 3.4% compared to the preceding year. The biggest surge in import volume was, however, section, bar and wire rod which jumped 10.7%, from 11.2 million tonnes in 2013 to 12.4 million tonnes in 2014. Other major import items in 2014 were coated sheets and strips (5.4 million tonnes), cold-rolled products (3.6 million tonnes) and pipe and tubes (3.5 million tonnes).
Make sure you get hold of a copy of the 2015 SEAISI Steel Statistical Yearbook for detailed information on the production, consumption and trade statistics of the six ASEAN countries as well as Australia, Japan, South Korea and Taiwan.
TAN AH YONG